Home inContext Islamic State Affiliate Takes Hostage in Sinai

Islamic State Affiliate Takes Hostage in Sinai

Adam Goldstein

Terrorists with links to Islamic State released a video Wednesday, threatening to behead a captured Croatian, Tomislav Salopek, unless their demands are met. The video is one of many released by the Sinai Province of Islamic State, as the group has targeted Western civilians as well as local security forces over the past several years.

In the video, Salopek is in an orange jumpsuit, reading from a script explaining how he has “48 hours to live,” unless the Egyptian government releases an undisclosed number of Muslim women held in prison. The extremists kidnapped Salopek on July 22nd, when according to the Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Salopek was driving to work for CGG, a French geoscience company. A group of armed men forced him to exit the car and then drove away to an unknown location.

Islamic State-affiliated Sinai Province fighters in the Sinai Peninsula. (Photo: Wikicommons)

Sinai Province of Islamic State has been responsible for numerous high profile attacks, and its influence has spread to Cairo as well. Seeking to scare off Western visitors – a source of vital income for the Egyptian government – on June 3rd militants attacked a security checkpoint a few hundred meters from the Pyramids of Giza, killing two policemen. Then, on June 10th extremists struck the Karnak Temple at Luxor, injuring a security officer in the process.

While the tourism industry has never fully recovered from the 2011 revolution, the Egyptian government has worked hard to insulate Sinai’s near-daily violence and lawlessness from Cairo. The Egyptian military has shut down roadways leading to the peninsula and have imposed a media blackout on reporting from the area. Meanwhile, on the mainland, an influx of Westerners into Cairo helps prop up the hard hit economy, and officials maintain a heavy security presence at important attractions to deter would-be terrorists.